So----Now What?

The U.S. Department of Education recently notified the Kansas State Department of Education that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for Kansas had been approved. In 2015 the Kansas State Board of Education announced a new vision for education in Kansas.

The new vision Kansans Can states that “Kansas leads the world in the success of each student.”This new vision for the State is directing the leadership at KSDE with completely changing the way that education is thought about in Kansas. Many districts across the state are going through a redesign process in some of their schools. They are developing,piloting, and implementing new ideas of how to educate students.

In redesigning schools it is the goal to increase the performance of students and better prepare them for their future. To do this Kansas has set an aggressive goal that at least 75% of all students will achieve proficiency on the Kansas State Assessment for English Language Arts and Mathematics. A student who achieves proficiency will be considered to be College & Career Ready. It is estimated that 71% of all jobs in Kansas will require a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. Kansas also has set a long-term graduation goal of 95% for all districts. Instead of just basing the success of schools and districts on test scores, performance will be examined by looking at: academic proficiency, performance gaps, English Language proficiency, graduation rates, and student success based on four levels: exceeds expectations, meets expectations, approaching expectations and below expectations.

In addition Governor Brownback asked the Kansas State Board of Education to be accountable to taxpayers, parents, teachers, community members and most importantly, students by attaining the following goals by 2022-2023 school year:

1) Reach a 95% statewide graduation rate

2) Attain a statewide postsecondary effectiveness rate of 75%

3) Continue to move schools statewide toward the Kansans Can model for redesign.

To reach these three goals the Governor set five strategic objectives:

1) Increase the teacher pay average to level of states around Kansas.

2) Increase school counselors and psychologist

3) Have 50 schools participating in the redesign project

4) At NO cost to students, offer 15 credit hours of dual credit/college classes

5) At NO cost to students, offer the choice of taking the ACT or Work Keys Assessment.

These changes and the changes that will come in the future will require schools/districts to examine what they are currently doing and be open minded as new “education design” rolls into Kansas. I believe the next 5-10 years in Kansas will be exciting times in the education world both at the state level and at USD 330 Mission Valley.

Yours in Education,

Bill Clark, Superintendent